Unity begins with one step

By  Peter Grbac, Catholic Register Special
  • January 22, 2007
peter grbacIt has been said that every journey begins with one step. Sacred Scripture brings to life the courageous and bold journeys Jesus and the apostles took in an attempt to evangelize the world and spread their revolutionary teachings of love and social justice.  Yet their journey began with one simple and courageous step. A few weeks ago, Pope Benedict XVI travelled to Turkey in a noble attempt to connect with the Muslim, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian faiths.  His journey, like his predecessors' 2,000 years before him, began with one simple and courageous step.  Every   day, we, as Catholics, set out on a new journey. Not knowing who we may meet on the road of life or where we may end up, we place our faith in the God who created us and loves us.  Life is indeed a fascinating journey.

In his First Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in the one Spirit we are all baptized into one body" (12:12-13). It is a fact that all Christians are united in Christ, yet there are differences that exist among the world's Christians.  Historical circumstances and humankind's inability to properly communicate have fuelled these rifts in the Christian faith.  What once began as a unified and cohesive journey has now become a series of many different parallel roads.  It is true that all Christian faiths are anchored in Christ, yet how can we mend these rifts and unite these individual "roads" back into one journey?  Very simply, we must all take that one step.

Taking one step in our society has, for some people, become a daunting task.  We have flown to the moon yet have trouble walking across the street to meet a new neighbour.  Knowing that we have the full support and guidance of the triune God we can courageously venture out and foster a united church.  How?  By being living examples of the theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, "Open our ears and loosen our tongues."  In the words of Paul Couturier, a modern hero for Christian unity, "In order to unite with one another, we must love one another; in order to love one another, we must know one another; in order to know one another; we must go and meet one another."  We must all take that one initial step.  By knowing about each other's pasts, we can optimistically work towards a brighter future.  The guidance of God, in the form of the sacraments and sacred Scripture, enables all humans to listen first and then act.  It is only when we become agents of the Gospel and spread its message that Christian unity can ever be achieved. 

History has taught us that when we refuse to listen and close our mouths, nothing positive can ever be achieved.  Anchored in the love of Christ and His church, we must all strive to be agents of peace, taking an interest in our fellow human beings, fostering greater communication and respect between religions and knowing that we are all pilgrims on the journey we call life.

In the directions of the great Pope John Paul II, "Let us go forth full of trust in Christ.  He will accompany us as we journey toward the goal that He alone knows.  Rise, let us be on our way!" 

Please see:  Unity begins with one step , by Peter Grbac

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